STAYING FOR GOOD
By Catherine Bybee
Most Likely To - Book 2
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Zoe Brown may have been voted Most Likely to Never Leave River Bend, but the paper-thin walls and suffocating air of her family’s double-wide trailer were not what she wanted for her life. Other than BFFs Melanie and Jo, the only thing that kept Zoe sane during high school was her boyfriend, Luke.
She didn’t just leave, she escaped—turning her back on the shame of her black-sheep siblings and imprisoned dad. Now a celebrity chef in Dallas, she can afford all the things she never could have growing up. But when she returns to rustic, ruggedly beautiful River Bend, Zoe has to face all that she abandoned—including Luke.
While Luke was a refuge for Zoe in the past, he knows they inhabit totally different worlds now. Anchored by his parents and his job as a mechanic in his father’s shop, Luke never felt the urge to leave River Bend—until Zoe’s return.
In Staying for Good, the second book in her Most Likely To series, Catherine Bybee continues the stories of the three childhood friends, Zoe, Jo, and Melanie that began in Doing It Over. By the end of the first book, I was not only intrigued by all three women, I was fully invested in their lives and their journeys to happiness and love. For Zoe, the journey takes her back to her hometown and her first love but also to her dysfunctional family and abusive father. When they were young, Zoe's only thought was to escape while Luke couldn't envision a future away from the town, the job, and the family he loved. Both are older now, both are wiser, but until the past is put to rest, they'll have no hope of making their second chance work.
Using themes of friendship, family dysfunction, and second chances (with a first love), Catherine Bybee drew me into this story and left these characters in my mind, and my heart, well after turning the final page. Perhaps it’s because threads of this book are inspired by Bybee’s own childhood that the paths followed by her characters resonate with greater truth and deeper emotion. The author skillfully balances the darkness of the heroine’s family with humor, some quirky secondary characters, a hero I adored, a touch of suspense, a free-spirited woman who has been the maternal influence in all three of the friends' lives, and Jo and Melanie, who always have Zoe's back, no matter what.
If you’re looking for a contemporary romance with women’s fiction overtones, strong bonds of friendship, a love that captures your heart, and a woman who finally finds her voice, her strength, and the life she is meant to live, look no further than Catherine Bybee’s Staying for Good.
While this book stands on its own, for deeper enjoyment and a more complete understanding of the characters, I strongly recommend reading the books in order.
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New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Weekday Brides Series and the Not Quite Series. Bybee lives with her two teenage sons in Southern California.